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Warning, I am a bit OCD about gear, skills, etc. It goes with the [surgical] profession. Or the profession attracts the personality. Anyway, I am just starting an email thread with random thoughts to ping you with. Maybe something will strike you as worth writing about, maybe not. No big deal to me, just an outlet if you don’t mind reading and commenting occasionally. Most of the below remarks are culled from an ongoing email discussion with a friend about things I have discovered as new to guns and CCW . . .

Right now I carry 24/7ish. I home carry all the time, then pop the small safe open in the bedroom, put the gun in and leave it open at night, closing it first thing in the morning after selecting and donning a gun.

I use the various Wilderness tactical belts without a problem. I prefer the Frequent Flyer because it is the lightest, but it is way ugly. Mostly it sits under my shirt, but I would not wear it if it could be seen.

I still use the Safepacker for the G26 while riding the mountain bike. No concerns even in the most tech terrain. Unfortunately, it is difficult to deploy the gun, mostly due to my thick gloves, but also due to where it is located. Reholstering is much more of a pain for the same reasons. Still, it is really nice to get way, way out there, park the bike and practice double taps into small bushes on the side of hills for 10 minutes or so. I am going through around 50 rounds per week doing this now.

I totally agree with your concerns about the “Bag Carry.” I have briefly forgotten about the gun in the pack several times, and in so doing broken my “on my person or in the safe” pledge to myself. I try to be meticulous about returning it to safe or holster once back from riding.

The G26 is an excellent, reliable, and accurate gun in my hands. I love this little thing.

Since I sent the Kel Tec P3AT in for service, I have upsized my daily carry, carrying the G26 or [Rohrbaugh] R9 daily and have not really found it to be bad at all, IWB for the G26 with occasional pocket carry in cargo shorts.  It pretty well disappears. A Crossbreed Supertuck did not work out for me due to its size; it just takes up too much real estate inside my pants. I have a tuckable Blade Tech “Ultimate Concealment Holster” that works pretty well tucked in.

I saw a day’s worth of patients using it and no one including my wife was the wiser. The G26 is a much more capable pistol than either the R9 or P3AT in every way, it’s just thick. I am interested in trying an ankle holster for use at work in my typical Dockers/button down attire.

For pocket Holsters, the Desantis Nemesis is extremely hard to beat IMO. It prints more than I would like, but it carries so nicely. I have one for the G26, the P3AT, and the R9.  I also tried a Recluse pocket holster (one-sided with a trigger guard, look it up, funky). It is very secure (I like the way it holds the trigger), draws awesome, and prints “square thing” not “gun”. It is twice the price,  just feels a little unbalanced to me in the pocket compared to the Nemesis.

The R9 feels lighter in the pocket using the Nemesis. So if I worry about printing, I use the Recluse, otherwise, I think Nemesis is the way to go, and they are cheap. I also use Nemesis holsters in the closet gun safe. I also tried the Superfly and sent it back due to its thickness.

I tried Remora IWB stuff and didn’t care for it. They didn’t move around, they were comfy, but I was unable to get a combat grip on the weapon since they let it sink too deeply. Re-holstering was difficult. Quality stuff, but I did not feel they were any better than what already used I had so sent them back.

The Galco M7 Matrix belt holster are the only plastic holster I found that would snap on the belt OWB. Beware of using their G30 holster with a G30SF gun because it is nearly impossible to use as the retention is so tight.  I am told it works well with a non-SF G30, but have not tried it personally(see comments).

I have found of the holsters I have tried, that the cheapo $13 Glock brand holsters are the best and most concealable of the belt holsters. I doubt I will pay for something nicer again. Their only downside is the difficulty of threading them on and off the belt.

A Glock 30 short frame could be the perfect handgun except for weight….sigh. It shoots well, but in my hands is significantly slower to get sites on target for a second shot compared to the 9mm G26. Mine will reside in the big safe for a while. I really wanted to love the .45 but alas, after a bunch of testing and thinking have come back to 9mm.

Compare weights:

Loaded G30 (10 rounds)=33.4 oz
Loaded G17 (17 rounds)=32.4 oz and thinner to boot.  Even though the grip and barrel are longer, it conceals about the same as the G30.
Loaded G26 (10 rounds) = feels like nothing at 26 oz and conceals great.  Almost a large pocket pistol.

I like the idea of keeping everything the same caliber that I carry/plan to use, so I carry the G26 mainly, keep G17 in safe for home defense and can use the bigger mags in either. I use the R9 for pocket days.

My Kel Tec P-3AT has been a stinking hunk of poo. Currently it’s back at the factory. That said: I loved its weight and with a few mods, I had the grip dialed for me. I could shoot it all day, but the gun absolutely would not run. Kel Tec fanboys would say fluff and buff… P-3ATs are just sucky cheap guns IMO. I wanted to love it, gave it a chance, no love so far.

My Rohrbach R9 is a fabulous gun. It has run a couple hundred rounds and a spring change through it with zero issues. My only beef is that the grip is too smooth, like a bar of soap, and a little short for me. The trigger guard also is sharp and cuts into my middle finger a bit. I have it pretty dialed with some coban wrap on the grip and modifying a Kahr 9mm Pearce extension for the mag and I like the grip just fine now. Total cost for the mod = $10.

It’s easy to strip unless you are an arthritic old guy. They complain, but I can field strip in a few seconds. Many, many fanbois on the Rohrbaugh forums. Sometimes this is good, sometimes bad.

I have studied up on ballistics and have to say I am biased towards the Fackler camp. No pistol has significant enough velocity to fragment a bullet, so large bullets are the way to go ballistically. He has great ballistic science and physiology on his side. It doesn’t hurt my opinion of him that he is a surgeon.

The whole one shot stop thing is completely bogus IMO (same for “energy transfer”). Shock waves work in solid organs like liver and spleen, but nowhere else. I did see a guy die on the table once from a completely shattered liver due to bleeding. It was an impressive injury. No idea on the caliber, but it was not the typical .22 we usually saw with GSWs. The liver blew apart and there was no stopping the bleeding despite the guy being awake/alive on hitting the door.

What you end up carrying is as always a compromise.  Despite my love of big bullets, I agree with what Suarez says in these posts about 9mm.

Why 9mm-Gabe Suarez- Part 1
Why 9mm-Gabe Suarez-Part 2
Why 9mm-Gabe Suarez-Part 3

He is incorrect about .45 being only 1mm bigger than 9mm. A .45 caliber hole has nearly twice the area of a 9mm hole.  In surgery school, we learn a little about flow rates of fluid through holes. An 11.43mm hole can flow a fluid through that hole around 2.5 times as fast as a 9mm hole.

There is no doubt in my mind bigger holes lead to faster incapacitation. This discounts bullet expansion of course and is fairly simplistic.  If I only was allowed one shot: .45 for sure. The reality is that it usually takes several hits to incapacitate an attacker and with several hits, difference in the major calibers diminishes, so why not go with capacity.

The .380, 9mm, 9mm+p, .357 SIG and .357 mag are essentially the same bullet diameter at different speeds and weights with increasing penetration and/or expansion being the advantages of the hotter loads. I think a low pressure, heavier, larger diameter bullet is generally better for the job in a human. Put me in the .45  fan camp. Hypocritically, I don’t carry one because it is too heavy. Compromises. Weight versus power.

An R9 at 20oz is 54% heavier than the P3AT at 13oz (both loaded and holstered)

R9 Muzzle Energy is about 290 ft lb (reg pressure Gold Dot) versus 249 for +P buffalo Bore .380, versus maybe 200 ft lb for standard 380.

If you compare the energy of various pistol rounds to a typical 30-06 round from a rifle as a percentage it goes something like this:

.380= 6.6%
.380 +p =8%
9mm reg short barrel=9.5%
9mm +P reg barrel= 14%
.45 +P=16%
.357 sig=18%

All that to say that pistols suck, some just suck more than others, and while the short the R9 may pack “50%” more punch than a standard .380, it is also 50% heavier and that difference is just a drop in the bucket difference (3%) compared to a real rifle round. The difference almost goes away when shooting the hot .380. Shot placement rules. Period. I would take a reliable, light .380 that can accept hot loads over the R9. The P3AT is not that gun.

My tastes are generally more Porsche than Corvette, so I think I will stick with the 109 yo Euro caliber. But I would not feel under gunned with a .380 either (and I like Lotus more than either of the above because they do a lot with a little:))

I’ll leave you with that!


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      • About 200 so far, no problems. If the ammo wasn’t so overpriced I would have 1000 through it. Its a easy gun to shoot and a welcome relief from the big revolvers. I use a dry lubricant on the working bits and stick with standard ammo

    • To satisfy my curiosity about mouse-guns I recently bought a P-32. Preliminary shooting results: it works (so far) 100% with premium ammo like Winchester SilverTip JHP or Magtech “32B” JHP. Unfortunately with cheaper ammo like Fiocchi or PPU not so much. FTF mostly with an occasional FTE.

      This pistol apparently is doing its own “fluff & buff” since I notice a polished area inside that originally was black. Don’t know quite what to think about that.

      However, especially in light of this article, a low capacity low power pistol seems quite inadequate for use as the primary defense. It probably will soon go out to pasture in my vault.

    • Excellent post. Add Eric to the list of authors.

      My P3AT refuses to work with Cor-Bon ammo (too hot), but runs fine with the Federal defense loads. I suspect that KelTec’s problem is lack of consistent quality in every gun that leaves their shop.

      This is why you want to run a bunch of rounds through your carry pistol before you carry it. Make sure it works reliably with the particular load you want to use. If not, try several different loads. If that still doesn’t work, get a different gun.

  1. Great perspective. Correlating flow with bullet diameter… never would have made that connection. Talk about a critical thinker!

  2. The ammo-war gauntlet is thrown ;->

    Some quibbles, I am a lawyer and not a surgeon — buuuuut…..:

    Wound channel blood flow is governed not by circular crossectional area of the wound channel — which is the number you compared as twice the differnce (actually 20.4 versus 32.6 sq cm) It is actually the surface area of tissue permanetly ruptured by the wound channel itself. Roughly, that is the surface of an open-ended cylinder with a depth of the wound channel times the CIRCUMFERENCE of the crossectional circle. Mind you this assumes FMJ on both rounds.

    Thus, the surface area comparison is the circumference of the 45 ACP (~36 mm) times the FBI’s minimum acceptable wound depth of 12 in. (30.5 cm, call it 31) — or 111 sq. cm.
    The 9mm, in comparison is 28.4 mm in circumference times the wound depth of 31 cm which is 88 sq cm.

    — So the 9mm is is only 21-22% less surface area in the wound channel — or 4/5ths roughly, the blood-loss capacity of the 45 round.

    For reasons I will not go into here, I conclude that the rate at which the temporary cavity is created — and thus the acceleration of the tissue that must dissipate that energy — has more wounding effect and biomechanical “knockdown” effect than most give it credit — but suffice it to say that the two rounds on that dynamic scale are within a range of nearly equal functional capacity.

    • Good points on the length of the wound channel. I had not thought that through completely. As Spock would say: “Khan’s a two dimensional thinker.”

      • “From hell’s heart, I stab at thee …!”


        I was waiting for Khan to find a way to nail a shiny federation credit to the bulkhead …. for the “man who could raise him Kirk.”

  3. My first impression of the author is that of a paranoid wannabe avenging angel. I really hope I’m wrong.

    I’ve been a shooter for over fifty years but I’m totally amazed by the apparent obsession with concealed carry. Enlighten me, please. How many people carry 24/7? How many carry at HOME? Do they carry in the shower? Where do they live and why don’t they move? Are there Zombies heading up their street?

    • Jack, I carry 24/7, at home and when I’m out, live in a nice neighborhood, and am not expecting trouble. When I’m home alone, I even take my carry gun in to the bathroom when I take a shower (and no, I don’t take my firearm into the shower with me). But please enlighten me and many others, where in the United States, or any country for that matter, that you can not find crime. And why should I move, and who can even sell a home now anyway, no area can tout, that it is crime free, whether it’s rural or suburban. So even if I could sell, where would you have me move to, a place that you could guarantee, that I would never need to protect myself or my family?

      • Taurus609,

        Thanks for your thoughtful response. My questions were mainly rhetorical in nature.

        I always keep a weapon close when I’m in certain situations. I live near the Mexican border and spend an inordinate amount of time alone in the boonies in that area. I do believe in being prepared but I also believe that many of our brother shooters turn their real or imagined carry needs into a sort of fetish.

        Indeed, crime can and does strike anywhere at any time and we all make our choices accordingly. I keep a loaded weapon at my place of business as well as my home. I take reasonable precautions, use situational awareness to a very high degree but beyond that I give it little thought.

        I stand by my impressions from contact with many shooters both in person and on a few of the popular forums that many, if not most exaggerate the likelihood that they’ll need to defend themselves with a firearm.

        Others “mileage may vary”.

        • I feel like I have zero threats in my life. I started to carry for a couple reasons:
          1. I feel strongly that if a right is not exercised, it is in danger of going away. I am choosing to exercise my second amendment rights and teach/help others to do the same in the hope of promoting a safer, more polite, more tolerant, constitution honoring society.
          2. It is fun to learn about something new. For me, with young kids, there is simply no way a gun will ever be allowed to lay about. It is either on my person, or in the safe, therefore, I home carry.
          3. Some day I may need the tool, so I am training myself now, before it’s an emergency.

          But yeah, it is sort of paranoid. I agree the odds of actually needing a weapon are probably miniscule for me, so it has turned into a fun hobby.

          I also remember the Connecticut doctor case and wonder if he ever felt threatened before goons broke in, beat him up, raped and killed his wife and daughters and burned his house down around him. How might that have been different if he was armed?

          Another wake up (literally) call for me was when the security system went off at 2am and the downstairs door most approachable from the street was open. I waited 45 minutes for the cops with my “big stick.” It turned out to be the wind blowing open a partially closed door, but it got me thinking none the less. I came to the conclusion that the security of my family was my responsibility alone.

        • Eric, your reasoning is sound. It’s not about the real chances. It’s insurance. Something you hope never to need. And it’s fun. And your family is your responsibility. We can come to different conclusions, but you’ve presented articulate reasoning supporting your conclusions, and it’s a process. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    • Think of carrying like wearing your seat belt. I drive every day, 30,000 miles a year or more. I do everything I can to avoid being in an accident. If I get in an accident, that special purpose piece of life-safety equipment is the best tool to save my life. I’ve talked with dozens of people who have drawn guns and used them to defend their lives. Not one walked out the door that morning expecting expecting that day to be different from the day before. Bad things can happen to good people no matter where you live or who you are.

  4. I agree with everything Taurus609 just said. I carry practically all the time. Even at home, even to (but not IN) the shower. I’m not paranoid, and I do not live in fear. On the contrary – I live *prepared*. While I live in a good neighborhood, bad stuff can happen to anyone anywhere at any time. Home invasion style robberies seem to be on the rise in & around the city I live in. If someone enters my home by force, I don’t want to have to run to the other end of my condo to get to a weapon. That’s why either my 1911 or my Glock 23 is always with me.

  5. What’s missing from your article is the topic of proficiency. A wiser approach, IMNSHO, is to start with a standard – for example “draw from concealment, fire 3 shots in 3 seconds at 3 yards, into a 6″ target”. Choose the gear that gives you the fastest time to meet that standard – because in a fight being slow and getting poor hits are both unacceptable. Too many gun owners obsess over minor variations in handgun caliber performance and base their gear choices on that mostly insignificant criteria, too few go to the range and assess their carry gear choices based on how that gear will likely be used.

  6. Having spent many years hunting with primative black powder firearms I’m a fan of slow heavy bullets over light fast bullets. My basis is the effect on whitetail deer. The only deer I’ve had to trail was shot with a 45 round ball. The ones that fell in their tracks were shot with a 54. The powder charge was such that the 45 had proportionally more powder behind it. Bullet placement was the same as I could make it. To that end my preferred pistol is a 45 and my BUG is a 9mm. That said, I fully believe that placement trumps caliber. I greatly enjoyed the article.

    • Accuracy, speed and power my friend. Since the beginning until the end.
      Accuracy, speed and power. In that order only. Anyone who debates that is a non-combat know-it-all.

    • Tony, would you expand on your comment about the proportionality of powder charges behind the .45 and .54 caliber round balls? To my knowledge the max useful powder volume is that which will burn completely in the barrel, regardless of chamber volume. I would expect some difference, with the slower moving .54 ball allowing more powder to burn, assuming the same length barrel as a .45 for comparison. How much difference are we talking for powder charge and MV? I only use ~50 grains Ffg in my .50 TC w/ green mountain barrel. In my Ruger old army, I’m limited by the chamber volume and round ball seating depth. About 30 grains of fffg. I’ve never fired either over a chronograph.

  7. Hi Eric, I work for Galco. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with our M7X. We’ve found that the design doesn’t work especially well on a few people of slender build (the plastic curves and puts extra pressure on the pistol). If that’s not the issue here, we’d be happy to bring it back to Galco for an evaluation. We’ve sold literally thousands of M7Xs with very, very few complaints, and I’ve personally worn a Glock 26 in one for hundreds of hours. I’m sure we can help resolve your problem with the holster, or exchange it for one that works for you. Just call Galco at 800-874-2526 and ask for me.

    • Mike also writes in an email to me: “I did some more research on that M7X and I think I figured out why it didn’t work. We only list it as a fit for the Glock 30 without rail. The Glock 30SF has a rail, of course, and unlike most of the Glocks, the rail on the 30 does affect holster fit. I very strongly suspect this is the reason you had issues with holster.”

      Thanks for going the extra mile Mike. Post amended.

  8. I can’t really blame you for not posting my critique of the post I read of yours.

    You make false statements about calibers effectiveness, what caliber is best for personal defense and some strange comparison of handguns to a 30-06 rifle.

    1st Recon Battln U. S. Marine and Fireteam leader in Viet Nam. and Somalia. Your blog misleads those unknowing souls in what, when and where as far as handguns
    go in personal defense.

    You will, eventually have some unknowing novice follow your lead and get killed
    in his ignorance and blind faith in your ridiculous and amatuer opinions.

    Folks like you should be censored from the internet and given seriopus warnings
    about the ramifications of believing everything you read.

    You Sir are a danger to all who read your fodder. My wish is that you become paralyzed in both hands and can never type again.

  9. If this is the truth about guns I am the Pope. I have never read such an out of touch, false data and misleading post regarding caliber, weapons and self-defense
    as this.

    If you were a sincere and legitmate gun advocate you would retract about 99% of your opinions and statements and enroll for some professional training in handguns for self-defence. I know you won’t do that and that makes you a scary person.

        • Now you’re just being coy. I would describe it more as a slight case of astigmatism, at least you didn’t wish paralysis upon me.

          Stay Classy


  10. I still like carrying my sawed off 10 gauge when going out to dinner, or playing horseshoes, it conceals well, & i use it to shoot stray dogs, it turns em to mush.


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